Pritzker Administration names agency leadership
The Pritzker Administration made the following announcements regarding agency leadership:
Marc Smith will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.* Smith previously served as the Executive Vice President of Foster Care and Intact Services at Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness. Prior to serving with Aunt Martha’s, Smith worked for more than two decades as a Social Worker, trainer and leader in child welfare. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a Program Administrator and Recovery Coach at Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, where he managed the child welfare division. Earlier in his career, Smith worked as a Public Service Administrator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services from 1993 to 2000. Smith has served on numerous boards, committees and work groups, helping to shape policies and inform best practices in leadership and in the field. Smith received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and his Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
John Kim will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.* Kim has served in many senior roles over 25 years at the Department under five governors of both parties. He previously served as Chief Legal Counsel, where he supervised a legal staff of approximately 40 employees. Prior to that, Kim served as Director, Interim Director, Ethics Officer, Deputy General Counsel, Assistant Counsel/Special Assistant Attorney General, and Project Manager for an IEPA-China pollution prevention project. Before joining IEPA, Kim was an Assistant Attorney General in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and General Counsel to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association. He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Heidi Mueller will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.* Mueller has spent over 8 years at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and was first appointed to serve as Director in 2016. Prior to joining the Department, Mueller served as the Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. Her background includes development and management of community programs for justice-involved youth, legal practice, front-line youth services, and social science research. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College, Master of Arts in Social Psychology from Stony Brook University, and Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
Jane Flanagan will continue to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor* Jane previously served as Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Chief Compliance Officer in the Office of Governor JB Pritzker. While serving in this role, she spearheaded several priority initiatives, including implementation of disability access planning across state agencies, drafting pay transparency amendments to the state Equal Pay Act, and the development of the Governor’s Commission on Workforce Equity & Access. Prior to that role, she spent six years in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General where she held the role of Labor Counsel and Assistant Attorney General before founding the Workplace Rights Bureau and serving as its first chief. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, Flanagan has also served as a Visiting Scholar at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Institute for Law and the Workplace. She began her legal career in Maryland where she represented chicken processing workers and bus drivers in wage cases at Brown, Goldstein & Levy in Baltimore before becoming counsel to the Maryland Department of Labor. A native of Maryland, Jane lives in Oak Park with her family.
Dana Popish Severinghaus will continue to serve as the Director of the Department of Insurance* Popish Severinghaus has extensive legal, policy, government relations and insurance industry-related experience. Popish Severinghaus was formerly Legislative and Regulatory Counsel at Allstate Insurance Company where she advised Allstate and its subsidiaries on legal, regulatory and legislative matters across the Midwest. Before that, she served as Senior Policy Advisor at the State of Illinois in Central Management Services where she saw oversaw the Bureau of Benefits. Prior to that, Popish Severinghaus served as the Director of Government Relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Popish Severinghaus is a Member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Board Member of the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund, Secretary of the Illinois Insurance Association, Advisory Board Member and Co-Chair of Government Relations Advisory Council for the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Women in Law Mentor at Chicago Kent College of Law and Auxiliary Board Member of ChildServ. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of Iowa and Juris Doctor from Chicago Kent College of Law.
Theresa Eagleson will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.* Eagleson previously served as the Executive Director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system, joining in 2014 after spending over a decade in management at HFS. She served as the state Medicaid Director, Deputy Administrator of the Division of Medical Programs, and Senior Adviser to the Administrator during her 15-year tenure. Prior, Eagleson served two Republican governors’ administrations, leading the Medical & Child Welfare Division of the governor’s budget office and serving as Governor Edgar’s Policy Adviser for Health and Human Services and as Senior Budget Analyst. Eagleson received her Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Natalie Finnie will serve as Director of the Department of Natural Resources.* Finnie has served as Deputy Director of DNR since August of 2021 where she oversaw the Office of Land Management, Legislative Department, Office of Oil & Gas Management, and Office of Mines and Mineral. Prior to this, she was the State Representative of the 118th District from 2017 to 2019. She has experience as an Advanced Practice Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner. Finnie received her Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Southern Indiana. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at Vanderbilt University.
Illinois Department of Human Rights
James (Jim) Bennett will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights.* Bennett previously served as the Midwest Regional Director at Lambda Legal, the nation's largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV. During his 12-year career there, Bennett was a lead strategist in Lambda Legal's Illinois and Iowa marriage campaigns and successfully fought Indiana's RFRA and their discriminatory ‘religious refusal' laws. In 2013, he chaired Illinois Unites for Marriage, the statewide coalition that led the successful effort to win marriage equality in Illinois. Prior, Bennett served as Acting Senior External Affairs Director at Howard Brown Health, Marketing and Development Director at the Shriver Center, and several roles at the American Red Cross' national and central Illinois regional offices. He was inducted into the City of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013 and was the recipient of Equality Illinois' Freedom award in 2018. Bennett received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Illinois Department of Human Services
Grace Hou will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.* Hou previously served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago, a grant-making foundation that funds organizations that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism. From 2003 to 2012, she served as the Assistant Secretary at the Illinois Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the oversight of the agency's six program areas. During that time, she was a key leader in the creation and implementation of the state's nationally acclaimed Immigrant Integration New Americans Executive Order. Hou previously served as Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association and has been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights. She received her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Terry Prince will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.* Prince is a senior executive leader and 31-year United States Navy veteran. Most recently, Prince served as Superintendent of the Ohio Veterans’ Homes where he oversaw three facilities, including the nation's 5th largest skilled nursing home and an independent living community. Previously, he served as Force Master Chief and Director of the United States Navy Hospital Corps. In that role, Prince served as a senior advisor to the Surgeon General of the United States Navy and a member of the Navy Medicine's Executive Steering Committee. Prior, he served as Senior Enlisted Leader at the Defense Health Agency and at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Prince began his military career in 1986, serving in the Dental Technician and Hospital Corpsman ratings. Prince has received a number of awards including the Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal and many more. He retired from the military in July 2017. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Chapman University and is a graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Command Master Chief Program and the National Defense University Keystone Fellowship.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency
Alicia Tate-Nadeau will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.* Tate-Nadeau previously served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications and led a 12-person rapid response force for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V. She served over 32 years in the National Guard, becoming the first female General Officer in Illinois National Guard history. In 2005, she was deployed to Iraq with a Multinational Division serving as an information operations officer. Tate-Nadeau's awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Polish Bronze Star and numerous other awards. Tate-Nadeau received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Oklahoma, Master of Strategic Studies in Military and Strategic Leadership from the US Army War College and Master of Health Administration from Governors State University.
Illinois Department of Military Affairs
Major General Richard Neely will continue to serve as Adjutant General of the State of Illinois and as the Director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Major General Neely previously served as the Air National Guard Principal Deputy Director for Operations/Deputy Director for Cyber and Space Operations at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. In this capacity, he served as the Air National Guard's Chief Information Officer responsible for the engineering, integration, sustainment and cyber security of systems supporting the Air National Guard. Gen. Neely also served in a Joint assignment as the National Guard Bureau's Chief of Current Operations in Washington D.C. From 2012 to 2014, Neely was the Illinois National Guard's Joint Chief of Staff. As the Joint Chief, he was responsible for domestic operations including homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities. He has held numerous command and staff assignments covering operations, cyber, logistics and finance. He is a Master Cyberspace Officer and fully joint qualified. His career also included two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gen. Neely spent six years in the enlisted ranks, first as a Soldier and then as an Airman, before being commissioned as an officer in August 1990. He has more than 33 years of military service.
Brigadier General Rodney Boyd will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General Military-Army. Brig. Gen. Boyd is a decorated combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he earned the combat action badge. In his civilian life, Brig. Gen. Boyd served with the Bellwood Police Department for 23 years. After retiring from the Bellwood Police Department in 2013, Brig. Gen. Boyd worked as a vice president for operations for JP Morgan Chase Bank and as a supervisory criminal investigator for the Northwestern University Police Department. He has worked for MAG Aerospace, which supports the Army National Guard Mission Command Training Support Program. Brig. Gen. Boyd began his military career as an enlisted Marine Corps Reservist in 1982. After completing his enlistment with the Marines, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard. From 1989 until 1990, he attended the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps in August 1990. Brig. Gen. Boyd received a bachelor's degree in Criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. Brig. Gen. Boyd has been married to Darlene Boyd for over 30 years and they have two sons (Rodney Jr. and Randy) and one grandson.
Brigadier General Daniel McDonough will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General - Air of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Brigadier General McDonough was serving as the Wing Commander for the 182d Airlift Wing, Peoria of which he relinquished command to be promoted to the Assistant Adjutant General - Air and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard. Colonel McDonough is an evaluator, instructor, and command pilot with over 5,600 flight hours, including 475 combat hours. As the commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing, he was responsible for maintaining the combat readiness of eight C- 130H3 aircraft and more than 1,240 traditional and fulltime Illinois Air National Guardsmen. He was mission ready in the OA-37 Dragonfly, F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-130H3 Hercules and has deployed six times as a C-130 aircraft commander in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as four times to command the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Afghanistan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Administration from Indiana State University.
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Jerry Costello II will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.* Costello previously served as the Director of Law Enforcement for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Costello represented the 116th district in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019, during which he served as chair the Agriculture and Conservation committee. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Costello decided to serve his country by joining the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Following his military service in Iraq, Costello returned to Illinois where he became a police officer and rose through the ranks to become an assistant chief of police.
Illinois Department on Aging
Paula Basta will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department on Aging.* Basta previously served as the Director of Senior Services and Health Initiatives at the Chicago Housing Authority and taught at the Loyola University School of Social Work. Prior, Basta served over 18 years at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, where shewas regional director of the Northeast (Levy) Senior Center from 2004 to 2018 and the Director of Information and Assistance from 2000 to 2004. Basta also spent over four years as the Executive Director of H.O.M.E., Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly, and nine years as a Social Worker and the Director of religious education at St. Clement Roman Catholic Church. Basta was inducted to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2009. Basta received her Bachelor of Science in social work from the University of Dayton and Master of Divinity from the McCormick Theological Seminary.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Mario Treto Jr. will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Treto previously served as Director of Real Estate at the IDFPR. During Treto's tenure as the Director of Real Estate at the IDFPR, he led the state's real estate industry, overseeing professional education, licensure, and discipline for nearly 100,000 licensees working in five real estate-related professions. Prior, Treto served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Evanston where he provided legal counsel to its elected officials, departments, and staff with compliance, transactional, and corporate matters. Prior to entering the public sector, he worked at a Chicago-based law firm focusing his practice on commercial and residential real estate, corporate law, and commercial transactions. Treto is a nationally recognized lawyer by various organizations, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar. Treto also serves as board chair of Howard Brown Health. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Francisco Menchaca will continue to serve as Director of Financial Institutions.* Menchaca has held the post since his appointment by Gov. Quinn in July 2013 and previously served the department as Credit Union Supervisor. Prior to beginning his career in public service, Menchaca developed an extensive resume managing financial institutions and governmental agencies at the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC). He has spent over twenty years of his career in the financial industry, notably serving as the First Vice President at Bank One, where he also spearheaded the Latino Employee Network. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Cecilia Abundis will continue to serve as Director of Professional Regulation.* Abundis previously served as an Attorney in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Prior to her role with the Illinois Attorney General's Office, she worked at the Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing. Abundis continues volunteering with Equal Justice Works as an alumni reviewer of project proposals submitted by prospective EJW Fellows. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law.
Laurie Murphy will continue to serve as Director of Real Estate.* Murphy came to IDFPR with more than 20 years of real estate experience. In her tenure as Deputy Director of the Division of Real Estate, she's helped develop processes to increase efficiencies within the Division, while serving as a liaison to the Department's advisory boards, auditors, and trade associations. She's also served as IDFPR's Chief of Boards and Complaints for Real Estate Brokerage and Community Association Management. Murphy currently holds a Real Estate Managing Broker License and has previously served as a Designated Managing Broker as well as a small business owner. Murphy received her Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University.
Chasse Rehwinkel will continue to serve as Director of the Division of Banking.* Rehwinkel previously served as the Chief Economist and Director of the Bond Division for the Illinois Office of the Comptroller where he worked on issues of state liquidity, public budgeting, debt issuance and access to capital. Rehwinkel has also served as the Comptroller’s advisor on inter‐fund borrowing, short-term lending, bond issuance and other fiscal issues. Prior to his role with the Comptroller’s office, he was the Director of Policy for the Illinois State Treasurer, where he oversaw the creation of the National ABLE Alliance, a coalition of 16 different state governments that created a set of affordable savings programs for people with disabilities. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Gettysburg College and Master in Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
Illinois Department of Public Health
Dr. Sameer Vohra will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.* Dr. Vohra is a general pediatrician who holds degrees in law and public policy. He is a cross-disciplinary leader in state and national health policy formulation, and his recent focus has been on improving health outcomes in Central and Southern Illinois. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, Medical Humanities, and Law at SIU-SOM, he currently serves the State of Illinois as the Interim Chair of the Children's Mental Health Partnership. He completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago and earned a Master of Arts in public policy from the University of Chicago. He holds a medical doctorate from SIU-SOM; a juris doctorate from SIU School of Law graduating first in his class; and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and science in human culture with honors from Northwestern University.
Illinois State Police
Brendan Kelly will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois State Police.* Kelly previously served as the State's Attorney of St. Clair County and as an Assistant State's Attorney. During his military service as an officer in the United States Navy, Kelly conducted research on Israeli-Palestinian joint police patrols in the Middle East. As an Assistant State's Attorney, he served on the Illinois State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Council. Kelly received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law.
Illinois Department of Revenue
David Harris will continue to serve as Director of Illinois Department of Revenue.* Harris previously served as an Illinois State Representative. Prior to his tenure as an elected official, he served as the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard and Director of Military Affairs. He was also Principal Deputy Director and Chief of Staff of the United States Department of State, Iraq Reconstruction Management Office. Harris is a veteran of the United States Army and the Illinois National Guard. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University.
Earlier this month, the following announcements were made:
Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS)
Raven DeVaughn will serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.* Prior to taking on this role, DeVaughn served as Assistant Director at CMS where she oversaw the agency’s procurement through the Bureau of Strategic Sourcing (BOSS), promoted minority and women owned participation in CMS contracts; oversaw the Bureau of Administrative Hearings and the Illinois Office of Communications and Information; and served as liaison to the recently created Commission on Equity and Inclusion and the African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission. Before joining CMS, Raven served as the Director of Economic Development Initiatives within the Office of Civic Engagement at The University of Chicago, where she designed and advanced policies surrounding the University’s community-based economic inclusion efforts on the south side of Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)
Kristin Richards will serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.* Most recently, Richards was the Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security where she oversaw the provision of more than $38 billion in unemployment benefits to hard-hit families during the pandemic. With more than 20 years of public service experience, Richards has served under two governors and as Chief of Staff for two senate presidents. In her time with the Illinois Senate, Richards played a critical role in bipartisan negotiations which resulted in Medicaid and pension reform, and later, ending the more than two-year budget impasse. She began her career in public service as a James H. Dunn Fellow in the Governor's Office in Springfield. Richards earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Millikin University.
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)
Ray Marchiori will serve as Temporary Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Marchiori currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the IDES and has more than 25 years of public service experience. He has served in executive-level roles for state, county, and federal agencies. Marchiori received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.
Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT)
Brandon Ragle will serve as Temporary Secretary of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology. Ragle has worked at DoIT since 2016, where he served as the Assistant Secretary and the Chief of Enterprise Applications. Prior to that, he was Deputy Chief of Enterprise Applications. Ragle brings 30 years of service in state government, serving in various roles supporting the Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and Illinois Department of Insurance. Ragle spent the past two decades in information technology. Ragle served in the Illinois National Guard for seven years and was non-commissioned officer of the year in 1995. Ragle received a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Greenville College and Master of Business Administration from Benedictine University.
* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.